Attracting and retaining the best truck drivers requires many things from trucking carriers. Carriers compete over providing better pay, greater benefits, and more home time. There may be one factor which carriers are forgetting: the quality of their equipment. Using the right equipment can increase driver satisfaction and improve your carrier’s efficiency. In fact, drivers routinely cite equipment quality as one of the top factors they look for in jobs, along with a top reason they decline jobs. If you’re keeping older model trucks around, drivers will be less likely to feel comfortable and safe in those rigs. Here are 3 ways in which your equipment can either help or hurt your truck drivers.
Safety is probably the way in which equipment can either help or hurt your drivers the most. Older model trucks will be more likely to be worn down and require more maintenance. They are also less likely to be enabled with the latest safety technologies to protect your drivers and freight. Safety is the biggest reason to invest in newer trucks.
All drivers want to feel safe in the equipment they are operating, but this is particularly true for newer recruits to the industry.
Investing in the late model trucks makes your carrier more attractive younger drivers and women drivers. Look for models with collision mitigation technology, which provides brake assistance and blind spot detection warnings. Another useful tool is lane departure warning systems, which warn the driver when their truck begins to move out of its lane unless a turn signal is on. Automatic braking can activate the vehicle’s brake system when sensors detect vehicles ahead in close proximity, or any other situation where a collision is imminent.
You may have expected us to write about driver safety and driver efficiency only. The truth is that comfort is equally if not more important, from a driver’s perspective. Remember that truck drivers spend a majority of their time in the cab of their truck. It essentially functions as both their “office” and their “home”. Can we really blame drivers then for prioritizing comfort? Many manufacturers have taken this into account and allowed for more room in the cabin. Manufacturers are also using fleet amenities like foam mattresses, premium audio system, and extra storage drawers. Ergonomics has seen a large push in truck designs.
If you’re sitting in the same truck seat for hours and using the same controls, you’d want the interior to be as comfortable as possible.
Ergonomics allows for the seat cushions, gears, steering wheel, and driver controls to align optimally with the mechanics of the human body. This creates an intuitive and frustration-free experience for the driver, who is able to focus on the task instead of becoming distracted and uneasy. Invest in late model trucks to find these features and advertise your comfortable cabins to attract more drivers.
You may think of improved efficiency as a best reason to invest in good equipment. That’s strictly from a carrier’s perspective though. If you take a driver-centric approach, you’ll think about safety and comfort first. Nevertheless, in an industry where many drivers are paid by the mile, reducing unscheduled stops and downtime improves driver satisfaction. Late model equipment that is well maintained minimizes the chances of breakdowns and delays, increasing the efficiency of your drivers and your fleet.
You don’t want your carrier to gain the reputation of being frequently delayed because of mechanical issues.
This reputation will spread to shippers, receivers, and potential new drivers. Drivers also don’t want to stuck fixing mechanical issues on the road because the carrier didn’t take responsibility for it properly. Some manufacturers can provide drivers with a replacement truck, which puts driver back on the road faster. While this increases the chances of making an on-time delivery, it still isn’t ideal. The best solution is to upgrade your equipment to late model trucks and improve your fleet’s efficiency by minimizing maintenance issues.